Canadian running back Kyle Borsa grew up a Riders fan as part of a family that has supported the green and white for decades.
Borsa played at Michael A. Riffel High School in Regina and chose to play for his hometown university, suiting up for the Rams football team while running track as well. If the explosive athlete could pick his pro team, it would be the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“If I can land a spot there and establish myself on the team, that’d be great. I guess people would have expectations, but I wouldn’t put much thought into it, wouldn’t bother me,” Borsa said on a videoconference.
General manager Jeremy O’Day currently holds six selections in the 2021 CFL Draft. The Riders have the second overall choice and one pick in each of the five other rounds. Borsa impressed O’Day and other talent evaluators running the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds during the National Combine — the fastest among all invitees.
“I was more upset I didn’t get to do it in front of actual scouts because we had to do it virtually. I would’ve liked to do it in front of a bunch of scouts. It would have done justice a bit better when you can use the same timing systems and the eye test as well,” Borsa said.
Borsa played two seasons for the University of Regina. He was suspended for the 2019 season due to a positive drug test, and missed the 2020 campaign after COVID-19 forced U Sports and the Canada West Conference to cancel its season.
In 2018, the six-foot, 193-pound playmaker saw action in eight games. He ran the ball 96 times for 613 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 6.4 yards per carry and 76.6 rushing yards per game, while adding 16 catches for 227 yards and one touchdown, amassing a total of 1,340 all-purpose yards.
Borsa’s versatility has drawn comparisons to Canadian playmaker Nic Demski who was selected in the first round, sixth overall by the Riders in 2015 when O’Day was the assistant general manager to former GM Brendan Taman. Demski left Saskatchewan in 2018 as a free agent and helped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers win the 2019 Grey Cup.
“I like the comparison to Nic Demski. I think I can be one of those type of players who you can get them the ball in different ways and they can make plays happen,” Borsa said.
“I know with Demski they’ll put him in the backfield, they’ll put him out at slot, one of those hybrid players who can do both. Winnipeg would be a great fit because I could fill in that role.”
Through two seasons in the Manitoba capital, Demski has 103 receptions for 1,097 yards and six touchdowns along with 60 carries for 395 yards — averaging 6.58 yards per carry — and three majors. Borsa wants to earn a role similar to Demski no matter which team opts to call his name at the draft.
“I want to go to a team that’s going to utilize me correctly and use my traits to help their team win, and help me be successful. Whoever plans on doing that is where I want to go,” Borsa said. “Any team who needs a guy with speed, strength, and someone who is dynamic, I’ll be a fit.”
“Borsa doesn’t play with Demski’s physicality, but he’s great in space. Not as fluid and agile as Demski, more of a straight line speed guy,” according to a CFL scout. “He has solid hands, although Borsa needs to develop his route-running ability and improve as a pass protector.”
Primarily a running back while rising in the football ranks in Canada, Borsa wants to see more Canadians earn a shot to play the position in the CFL. Superstar Andrew Harris has become a poster boy for the CFL and proved national players can produce at a high level if given the opportunity.
“There’s a stigma that Canadian running backs can’t play that position. I would like to see some more ratio-breakers,” Borsa said.
“I can play running back at the next level. I have to put on a couple pounds, which won’t be an issue, but I think I can play running back at the next level. If a team wants me to bump into the slot I can do that too, I’m perfectly comfortable doing that.”
Father Cory Borsa won two Canadian Junior Football League championships with the Rams. On Tuesday, May 4, Borsa will find out his pro fate while around family in Regina for the life-changing event.
“Grandma is a huge Rider fan, so she’s excited.”